Seattle Chinatown leader killed in shooting

Updated: 2015-07-25 06:18

By LINDA DENG in Seattle(China Daily USA)

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Seattle Chinatown leader killed in shooting

Donnie Chin was recently honored by OCA-Greater Seattle with a Golden Circle Award. Photo provided by Han Eckelberg

Donald "Donnie" Chin, a community leader in Seattle credited with patrolling and protecting the streets of the city's International District for decades, was shot and killed by someone who fired into his car and then fled, police said.

Police said they received multiple reports of shots fired in the area of 8th Avenue and South Lane Street shortly before 3 am on Thursday. They found a man with gunshot wounds in a car, and he was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where he died a few hours later.

The victim was later identified as the 59-year-old Chin, the head of the Chinatown-International District Emergency Center.

Police said they do not believe Chin was the intended target of the shooting.

Over the years, Chin had developed a close relationship with emergency medical staffers, firefighters and police.

He started patrolling the streets of Chinatown-International District since he was in junior high school after finding that private ambulance companies were slow to respond to emergency calls, according to a 1991 Seattle Times story. The story recounted how Chin had the respect of medics, residents and business owners and was welcomed when he responded to 911 calls that were relayed over his police scanner.

Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and others issued statements mourning the loss of Chin.

“Donnie Chin was a man who dedicated his life to making Chinatown and the International District safe for everyone. He had been doing that since he was a young man because he saw a need and he filled it, '' said Inslee. “I am sure all Washingtonians join me in sending our thoughts and prayers to Donnie’s family, friends and countless people who will miss his presence on the streets of the International District.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said,“Donnie was a great community leader and his tragic death is a tremendous loss to Chinatown-International District, the broader Asian-Pacific Islander community, all of Seattle, and to me personally,'' Murray said

King County Executive Dow Constantine called Chin a hero who dedicated himself "to protecting the vulnerable and frail." ``The loss of Donnie Chin hits at the very heart of our community. Our hearts go out to friends and loved ones, and those whose lives he touched,” said King.

The Asian Counseling and Referral Service said the community is grieving Chin's death. It said the respected community organizer watched over youth, seniors and others for 45 years.

Chin worked as the director of the International District Emergency Center, a not-for-profit group that monitors the neighborhood.

"Everyone here knows Donnie. He is a hero. We all loved and respected him, who has been helping vulnerable members of our community for many years," said an employee at the Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, promoting, and developing the Seattle Chinatown International District.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said Chin was a wonderful friend to the police department and ``will be sorely missed. We join his family and friends in mourning this terrible loss. We will also work tirelessly to bring his killer to justice.”